Master of Novices

The master of novices or novice master is a term used in the Roman Catholic Church to refer those religious to whom is committed the training of the novices and the government of the novitiate of a religious institute. His duty is to see that the time devoted to the period of the novitiate be passed in prayer, meditation, and the development of character through a study of the "Life of Christ" and of the saints, church history, and the vows and the constitution of his institute. Within the time of this probation, he must make a report about each novice to the proper authorities regarding these matters. For this purpose, he is to be free from all other duties and offices. Strictly speaking, he is not a religious superior according to the definition of Canon law although he has the same rights and duties over the novices as a religious superior has over his subjects. Canon law has prescribed that he must be at least 35 years of age, have been ten years a religious from his first profession and be eminent in prudence, charity, piety, and in the observance of the rules and regulations of his religious society. If this society is one in which a great many of its members may be raised to the priesthood (within a clerical institute), the master of novices must be priest.

The female version of the term is called 'Mistress of Novices'.

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